Clarence Telephone records indicate that the telephone company was organized as a privately owned firm about the turn of the century. Frank Riggs is credited as being one of the early organizers.
The 1903 phone directory – one of a nearly complete set owned by Clarence Sun, shows Hosea Ballou as President of the Company, with John Jansen as Vice-President, M.B. Cottrell as Secretary and Riggs as Treasurer. One of the first subscribers to the then-new Clarence telephone service was August Kammeyer, who remembers that the fee for a month’s use of the telephone service was $.35!
About 1920 the old company was bought out by Hans J. Klatt, from whose estate it was acquired by the present company. For a short time after World War II, Klatt’s son, Henry, operated the company.
The first office of the telephone company was on the second floor of the building where the Clarence Clothing Company is. Later a separate building was built to house the switching center and there it has remained until the recent conversion to dial service.
On August 9, 1951, a number of people from the Clarence Community got together to discuss their telephone problem. A representative of the Iowa Independent Telephone Association met with the group to give a talk and answer questions about telephone service. At this meeting it was decided to hire an engineer to make a survey to determine the cost of building new lines and installing a new dial switchboard.
On October 17, 1951, a meeting was held and a board of directors was elected. President Walter Geadelmann, Vice-President Hermann Schwien, Secretary-Treasurer Wayne Saunders with E.E. Meyers, Oscar Dethmann, Henry Von Muenster and Richard Hulse the rest of the board.
The company sold $78,000 worth of stock in the community to raise sufficient capital to construct the new dial system. As soon as possible, plans were made for rebuilding of the entire plant. The old plant in town was partially open wire and small amounts of cable. Before the cut to dial the entire town plant was cabled, the rural lines completely rebuilt, and new drops and telephones installed. The new dial system, town plant and rural plant was completed at a cost of $108,000.
In March of 1952, Ray McDaniel was hired as the manager and lineman. Under Ray’s direction much of the conversion work was done. Stockholders, officers and others have assisted in the project. In March 1955, after the rebuilding and installation work, the Clarence Telephone Company was the first small town in eastern Iowa to have dial service. The rural customers were down from 25 to 10 party line and the city customers having a 4 party or private line service.
A storage warehouse facility was built in 1965, until this time they had rented vacant garage space within the city limits. 1966 to 1967 the company upgraded all the service and all rural lines as well as a new central office to house the switchboard and business office. A North Crossbar NX-2 switchboard was installed in the new office. April Fool’s Day was decided as the cutover to the new switchboard and rural service was cut from 10 party to 4 party. Northwestern Bell installed the O carrier system to provide better toll service. In 1973, the board of directors decided to upgrade all the rural lines from 4 party to one party service.
During the year of 1976, Mark Hudson was hired and assisted the manager. It was decided to build an addition to the central office. A repair and storage room was built for future expansion to the switchboard equipment. Northwestern Bell upgraded their O carrier to N carrier and installed it in the new addition.
A new Digital Northern Telecom DMS-10 switchboard was installed in 1982, to replace the North Crossbar. At this time the rest of the city was upgraded from 4 party to all 1 party private lines. A computer was added in the business office to handle all the customer billing that was done each month. Divestiture, which took place with all the telephone companies, is probably one of the biggest changes and it has made a lot of extra paperwork and book work.
In the winter of 1982-1983, CATV was built and maintained by the company for the city of Clarence, having 17 channels to offer on cable service.
In 1987, Northwestern Bell deleted the N carrier service and we installed our own termination point and put in T carrier for toll access.
In 1999, Clarence Telephone Company expand service to the Stanwood exchange and forming the CLEC called Cedar Communications, LLC. Along with this, Clarence Telephone expanded services to the wireless side creating Cedar County PCS.
In 2005, Clarence Telephone Company began installing in the city limits for Fiber-To-The-Home. Following the completion of the city limits, the rural area of Clarence Telephone Company received Fiber-To-The-Home in 2010. In the Fall of 2011, the expansion extended into the rural exchange south of Stanwood. In 2006, expansion for WDSL to Tipton and rural Stanwood. In 2009, IPTV was deployed in Clarence followed by Stanwood.